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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 16, 2016

The pattern of archaeological cultures in northern China during the Eastern Zhou Period to the Qin Dynasty – also on the interactions among the Rong, Di and Hu ethnic groups and the Central Plains

Yueying Shan
From the journal Chinese Archaeology


Through the systematic trimming and analysis to the remains of the archaeological cultures of the Eastern Zhou Period through the Qin Dynasty in northern China, this paper puts forward that during this period, there were two cultural zones (the north and south cultural “belts”) with clearly different cultural features and connotations and peoples bearing clearly different physical characteristics in northern China, and discussed the regional differences of the remains of the archaeological cultures in each cultural belt and their developments and changes. The cultures in the south cultural belt could not be regarded as a part of the early Iron Age cultures in the Eurasian Steppes, but a kind of culture peculiar to the transitional zone between the cultures in the Eurasian Steppes and that in the Central Plains; the development and evolution of the north cultural belt, which emerged in the mid to the late Spring-and-Autumn Period, can be divided into three clear phases: the first phase was a part of the early Iron Age cultures in the Eurasian Steppes, but since the second phase, the cultural features and connotations of this belt began to stray out of the cultures in the Eurasian Steppes, which would be closely related to the military conquering and political management of the Central Plains polities and the powerful northward advance of the cultures of the Central Plains. Referring to the relevant historic literature, this paper made further observations to the interactions among the polities of the Central Plains and the peoples in these two cultural belts and the changes of the cultural patterns in each of the two cultural belts, and revealed the processes of the Sinicization of the Rong, Di and Hu ethnic groups in northern China. This paper pointed out that the Hu ethnic group lived in northern China since the mid Spring-and-Autumn Period, and the later appearance of the Hu people in the historic literatures was related to the northward advances of the territories of polities of the Central Plains rather than the southward invasion of the nomadic tribes living in the present-day Mongolian Plateau.


The original paper published in Kaogu Xuebao 考古学 报 (Acta Archaeologica Sinica) 2015.3:303–44 with 19 illustrations and one table was authored by Yueying Shan 单月英. This abridged version is prepared by the author and translated into English by Runxian Mo 莫润J先.


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Published Online: 2016-11-16
Published in Print: 2016-11-27

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